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Mets finished 2018 with the third worst production at first base

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 11: Wilmer Flores #4 of the New York Mets catches a popup in front of Jay Bruce #19 during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 11, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 11: Wilmer Flores #4 of the New York Mets catches a popup in front of Jay Bruce #19 during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 11, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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First base production was a big problem for the New York Mets in 2018. Among all 30 MLB teams, they ranked 28th in production.

I’m trying to not reference WAR as much as possible because of how specifically unspecific the number is. Nevertheless, it’s still a decent way to gauge overall ability and production. In the case of the New York Mets and looking at which positions they need to focus on improving, it helps put some things in perspective.

We all know the Mets need to upgrade the bullpen. The -6.3 WAR from their relief pitchers in 2018 was the fourth worst of any team in Major League Baseball. As a group, it was the worst on the team. Only the Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, and St. Louis Cardinals had worse bullpens than the Mets this past season.

Among the position players, the Mets received the least amount of production at first base. With a total WAR of only -2.5, they finished above only the Baltimore Orioles and Colorado Rockies.

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Seven different players took on at least an inning at first base for the Amazins in 2018. Wilmer Flores led the way with 83 games played at the position. In a distant second place behind him, we find Adrian Gonzalez with 48 games.

Only three players on the roster finished with a positive WAR on defense. The lone ranger to accomplish this who also saw any time at first base, Kevin Plawecki, didn’t really make much of a difference in this number. His three games at the position are all but forgotten. Most of his positive play on defense came as a catcher.

Even if we exclude defense, the team didn’t get nearly enough production at this position. First base is the spot you should lean on to carry you through the harsh times. Far too often in 2018, it was the rally-killing spot.

Drastic changes have already been made to the roster. It’s quite possible Peter Alonso is promoted quickly if not already given the job on Opening Day. With the departure of Jay Bruce and Flores, the in-house options seem to include Dominic Smith and Todd Frazier. Others could also see extended time at first base this year as the team attempts to give as many at-bats to deserving players as possible. My guess is Frazier gets the call first and Alonso takes over not long after.

First base production numbers may look a whole lot different in 2019.

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Two options now gone, it’s up to the remaining pieces and the management to make this power position more than an automatic out.

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